ARC REVIEW: Triflers Need Not Apply by Camilla Bruce

Title: Triflers Need Not Apply by Camilla Bruce
Pages: 448
Published by: Michael Joseph 
Publication date: 5th August 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction/True Crime
Format: Paperback
Amazon UK – Waterstones


Bella loves men. She loves them to death . . .

Bella Sorensen knows the world is made for men. But she also knows what few others do: where women are concerned, men are weak.

A woman unscrupulous enough can take from them what she wants. And so Bella sets out to prove to the world that a woman can be just as ruthless, black-hearted and single-minded as any man.

Starting with her long-suffering husband, Mads, Bella embarks on a killing spree the like of which has never been seen before nor since.

And through it all her kind, older sister Nellie can only watch in horror as Bella’s schemes to enrich herself and cut down the male population come to a glorious, dreadful fruition . . .

Based on the true story of Belle Gunness whose killing spree began in Chicago in 1900, Triflers Need Not Apply is a novelistic tour de force exploring one woman’s determination to pay men back for all they have taken.

My review:

A massive thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book for review!

Triflers Need Not Applying is a harrowing story that recounts the life of Belle Gunness, a serial killer whose murderous rampage began in Chicago in 1900. I went into this knowing that it was going to be dark, however, I still felt unprepared for just how gruesome and chilling some parts of the story were. 

The story begins in 1877 when Belle is a young girl living in Norway, recounting her childhood and whether the events that happened there contributed to her violent nature when she’s older. It’s quite thought-provoking as it raises questions on whether someone is born a monster or made one as a result of how they’ve been treated. As Belle grows up, we do witness some tragic events and how she reacts to them. From early on in the story, there’s some chilling scenes and there were numerous times when I had to step away before continuing. 

After the events Belle suffers in her home country, she decides to follow in her sister’s footsteps and move to America for a better life. The narrative alternates between Belle and her sister, Nellie, which was interesting to say the least. The contrast between Belle and her sister is jarring as both are completely different – like polar opposites. While Nellie’s thoughts are filled with nothing but kindness and concern for her sister and what she’s becoming, Belle’s are like entering a pit of darkness and the only light is her children. Belle’s thoughts gradually spiral further and further out of control, as there’s a part of her that thirsts for bloodlust and it’s rarely satisfied. While she viciously lashes out at the men in her life, she’s a caring mother to her children and wants nothing but the best for them. It was fascinating but also unsettling seeing her mood instantly change and how she could appear to others as a considerate neighbour.  

Belle’s timeline is incredibly detailed and the author takes care recounting every part of her life. This really helped to build a picture of Belle, what her life was like and ultimately what led her to target men when she goes on a killing spree. However, I felt the story dragged in some places. It’s a very long timeline to recount and sometimes my attention did start to waver. Also, while I enjoyed Nellie’s chapters, I did want something more for her. She’s put in an impossible situation and while it was interesting seeing her reaction to Belle’s darker side, she’s never sure what to do and I desperately wanted her to make a decision instead of going round in circles.

I was shocked to the core when I read the ending. It’s definitely one of the most disturbing scenes for me and it’s going to be hard to shake it off. I’m certain those scenes will haunt me for a while. 

Triflers Need Not Apply is one of the most frightening stories I’ve come across. It’s a must-read for fans of true crime. 

2 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: Triflers Need Not Apply by Camilla Bruce

  1. Jenny Mcclinton says:

    I hadn’t heard of Belle Gunness before, but it sounds like she had really shocking life and leads to this great book to read. I will definitely be adding this one to my must have list. Great review 💕

    • Beth says:

      I hadn’t either but yes it was a very dark read! I can’t imagine the amount of research the author her to do to get into her mindset. Definitely one to read if you like true crime 🙂

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